Singaporean man wanted by US over North Korea is in Singapore: police

Singaporean man wanted by US over North Korea is in Singapore: police


A Singaporean businessman wanted by the United States for violating sanctions against North Korea is currently in the city-state where he is under investigation, Singapore Police said.

In a statement released late Saturday, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said it had asked its US counterparts for clarification on the reward as it had kept them informed of the ongoing investigation by local authorities.

The US State Department on Thursday offered $5 million for information on businessman Kwek Kee Seng, blaming him for numerous fuel shipments to North Korea and ship-to-ship transfers and money laundering by shell companies.

Federal prosecutors in New York issued an arrest warrant for Kwek in 2021, a year after one of his oil tankers, the M/T Courageous, was seized by Cambodia at a US request for alleged sanctions violations.

Kwek, 62, owns the city-state-based shipping company Swanseas Port Services.

The State Department’s Rewards for Justice program had said his exact whereabouts were not known and that he had also been identified as being in North Korea, Cambodia, Taiwan and Thailand, as well as Cameroon and the tiny Caribbean state of St Kitts and Nevis.

But Singapore Police said in their statement that “Kwek is currently in Singapore”.

He has been under investigation by the Commerce Division – the city’s white collar crime investigative agency – since April last year and his passport has been confiscated.

Singapore Police said the investigation was launched after the US Department of Justice announced it had filed criminal charges against Kwek for “alleged conspiracy to circumvent economic sanctions” against North Korea and money laundering.

Police added that they shared information about their investigation into Kwek with US law enforcement.

“Since then there have been several other exchanges. Due to the nature and complexity of the case, the investigation is ongoing,” police said.

“On November 4, 2022, the SPF wrote to our US colleagues seeking clarification as we have been in active communication with our US colleagues about Kwek’s case,” she added.

“Singapore will continue to support the US authorities within the limits of our laws and international obligations.”

The reward comes as the US urges strict enforcement of UN sanctions on North Korea after it fired a volley of missiles, including one that landed near South Korea’s waters.

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